Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Magician

He fiddled with his wrinkled hands. He fingered all the burn marks on them, the scars from the tricks gone wrong. He reached out for his hat all torn form years and years of procuring bunnies form them.  He stroked the hat tenderly, as one might caress a wound.  He felt the worn edges, the frying cloth, the torn ribbon. It had been a gift from his father, so many decades ago. He could see himself as a boy, ecstatic at receiving something so expensive, something normally they couldn't even dream of. Only later did he know about how many extra shows his father had had to do, how many meals he had skipped. But his father's exhausted face had glowed as he made the grand gesture. The old magician's eyes filled with tears as he recalled all this.
There was an electric atmosphere all around him. The circus was getting ready for the next performance. The acrobats warmed up the animals were dressed and painted, the knife throwers armed to teeth. The manager was behind them all, urging them to get ready faster, resorting to either begging or threatening or commanding, according to the person he was speaking to. Only the old magician was ignored, nobody asked him to do anything. He was as old as the circus, though gossip claimed that he was thousands of years old and that he used black magic to keep themselves alive. He knew this wasn't true. Even though his eyes carried the burden of one who had lived forever, he too was mortal. But he never refuted theses claims, He knew better. He sighed and reminisced about the time when everybody was his age. Now they were al gone, and he was left back alone. He went back a little more in time and he could remember the time when he was the headliner of the show.
The posters would advertise.  People from towns far, far away would come to watch him do, what seemed to them, miracles. Now he was one of the less preferred acts. Often they didn't even have him on the whole shoe. Children were no longer interested in watching magically produced birds or disappearing balls. They had greater sleighs of hands along with them. The computers they carried were far more interesting. They were so immersed in their world of digitization, they no longer cared.
But today, he was performing. For the last time, he had decided. He lifted his dusty purple cape, inspected it for the magic holes and pockets they had. He grabbed all his magical equipment,. He petted the rabbits, chirped a bit to the birds. He wore his hat and took his wand. He made his grand entrance, in tune to disinterested and scattered applause. And then he said his magic words for the last time, "Abracadabra......."

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